, Urumqi, November 29th, title: Why has Xinjiang’s unique local operas and operas been sung for more than a hundred years?

  Author Qi Yaping Qi Linjie

  Every morning, after finishing her housework by humming a little song, Liu Shuzhen, who lives in the Hongqi Farm of the Sixth Division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, would simply dress up, and then discuss and create Xinjiang operas with her companions in the WeChat group.

  "Every winter, everyone will chat together, and I will sing the opera after you sing a sentence." Liu Shuzhen said that inheritance is the most important thing.

  Today, she has taken over the baton from teacher Yang Peicai who passed away in March this year, and has become the inheritor of Quzi Opera.

  Local opera becomes a national intangible cultural heritage item

  Xinjiang Quzi Opera, commonly known as Xinjiang Xiaoquzi, is based on operas such as Shaanxi Meihu, Lanzhou Guzi, Qinghai Pingxian, etc., and gradually formed and perfected a unique style of opera by integrating the music arts of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

  As early as the end of the Qing Dynasty, it began to be sung in Changji Prefecture and Wujiaqu City, the Sixth Division of Xinjiang Corps on the northern slope of Tianshan Mountain. It has a history of more than 100 years.

  In 1959, the first professional troupe of Quzi Opera "Xinjiang Quzi Troupe" was established.

Since then, Quzi Opera has become a unique local opera in Xinjiang, and it has also become a national protected opera.

  In 2008, the Xinjiang Quzi Opera declared by the Xinjiang Corps was selected into the second batch of representative items of national intangible cultural heritage, and the Wujiaqu City Culture, Sports, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau of the Sixth Division became the protection unit of the Quzi Opera.

  The richness of tunes is a major feature of Quzi Opera. The diverse styles of tunes can express the rich daily life of the working people. Up to now, 36 major tunes and 72 minor tunes have been developed.

  Its form of performance is very flexible, divided into two types: seated singing at a stall and stage performance, and often one person plays multiple roles.

Singing at the stalls is commonly known as "cappell singing". It usually does not have performance movements, is not restricted by the performance venue, and does not require costumes and props. It is easy to learn and sing, and is very suitable for popularization among the masses.

Liu Shuzhen (left) demonstrates for fans of Quzi Opera.

(Data map) Photo by Yang Aixia

  Protection and Inheritance

  Yang Peicai, an employee of Hongqi Farm, is the fourth-generation inheritor of Xinjiang Quzi Opera. Influenced by his parents, he loved listening to Quzi Opera since he was a child, and learned to play the huqin when he was a teenager. He has been committed to the protection and inheritance of Quzi Opera during his lifetime.

  "Practice a thousand tunes and then understand the sound, watch a thousand swords and then recognize the weapon."

In order to allow this intangible cultural heritage art to be circulated permanently in the form of words and music scores, from 1995 to 1997, Yang Peicai collected, sorted out and excavated 32 excerpts and passages in the Yue Tune category and 38 Ping Tune categories in this play, and compiled "Xinjiang Music set".

  While carefully collecting and arranging the music scores, in 1995, Yang Peicai and Xin Kewen, a farm worker, initiated the establishment of the Xinjiang Quzi Opera Hongqi Farm Self-music Troupe. He often led more than 30 actors from the troupe to perform in various companies, and also cheered for neighbors’ weddings, constantly expanding the repertoire play influence.

  At that time, they would go to the company to perform two or three times a month, usually by bicycle with costumes and instruments.

The traditional repertoires "Zhang Liang Selling Cloth" and "Li Yangui Selling Water" etc. are most popular and loved because of their melodious tunes and vivid performance images.

  Yang Peicai once said that he would protect and pass on Quzi Opera well during his lifetime, which has a long history.

Liu Shuzhen (left) explained the movements for fans of opera.

(Data map) Photo by Yang Aixia

  Nowadays, the self-music troupes of Quzi Opera composed of fans of Quzi Opera are widely distributed in various troupes of the Sixth Division.

By absorbing and cultivating fans of Quzi Opera, Zile Class continuously expands the influence of Quzi Opera, and is an important force in the dissemination and development of Quzi Opera.

  There are those who will continue the inheritance

  Liu Shuzhen was fascinated by her family's singing of Quzi Opera since she was a child. She fell in love with Quzi Opera, and then studied Quzi Opera with Yang Peicai. After retirement, she became a member of the self-music troupe of Xinjiang Quzi Opera Hongqi Farm.

  "My uncle, my second uncle, my father and brothers all like Quzi Opera. During the Spring Festival, we choose a big house to sing Quzi Opera. We sit on the kang and watch. They sing Quzi Opera on the ground and watch them transform The makeup is also very good-looking, and I especially like the opera." Liu Shuzhen said.

  Liu Shuzhen was born in Jiuquan, Gansu in 1951, and came to Xinjiang when she was just learning to walk.

"The propaganda team was established in 1966. There were two people in a production team, and I was allowed to sing popular songs, and even sang and performed." Liu Shuzhen said that she liked literature and art since she was a child, and accumulated dance skills in the propaganda team.

  Later, Liu Shuzhen's family built a new house in the theater department, and she began to learn opera from Yang Peicai. At that time, she was 49 years old.

  "Teacher Yang Peicai worked tirelessly to teach us the opera. Some tunes are very difficult if we don't know how to sing them. We don't want to sing them, and if we can't learn them, he says no. If we don't sing the tunes, we will lose them. After learning it slowly, we don't find it difficult. Now." Liu Shuzhen said that the average age of the opera troupe is over 70 years old. When there is no epidemic, everyone is busy during the day, and at night they come to the opera activity room to rehearse, especially before each activity, basically every night. .

  In order to attract more people to join the Quzi Opera Troupe, Liu Shuzhen usually unites with the community to let everyone know about Quzi Opera through performances in the community by volunteers. She also actively participates in various performances so that more people can see Quzi Opera.

  Liu Shuzhen said that now they want to train young people, so they set up a Quzi Opera Volunteer Service Team, hoping that more young people will integrate into Quzi Opera, pass it on together, and protect Quzi Opera.

  Century-old melodies pass on new rhymes

  "As far as we are concerned, we have been working hard to innovate, devoting ourselves to singing old tunes, keeping up with current events, and constantly creating new works." Liu Shuzhen said, everyone twisted into a rope, worked together, and took every performance seriously. Once creating, I hope not to throw away the things left by my ancestors.

  In fact, innovation started as early as Yang Peicai's lifetime.

In order to keep up with the development of the times, he has successively created songs reflecting the changes in the farm, such as "A Good Place in Hongqi Farm" and "A New Chapter of Time Like Songs".

  During the recent period, Liu Shuzhen and Quzi opera lovers are creating repertoires about epidemic prevention and control.

  Today, Hongqi Farm has a special rehearsal and performance venue for Quzi Opera, has established a Quzi Opera Association, has new inheritors, and has cultivated a group of literate and fond of Quzi Opera lovers, so that Quzi Opera can be better inherited and developed.

  The Hongqi Farm Opera Troupe now has nearly a hundred performers. They often perform and exchange ideas with groups such as Urumqi Maple Leaf Theater Troupe and Jimsar County Opera Troupe.

  As a local opera, Quzi Opera is deeply loved by everyone. It has been sung for a long time and listened to a hundred times. No matter in the park or on the square, you can always see Quzi Opera performed in groups of three or four. No matter men, women, old or young, everyone can sing. Two sentences.

This kind of opera close to life has become a part of the cultural life of the local people.

  In the evening, people who had worked all day sat under the vines in the small courtyard, singing melodious tunes and operas, laughing and laughing one after another.

  Xinjiang Quzi Opera has witnessed the exchange and fusion of various cultures on the hot land of the North Road of the Ancient Silk Road, witnessed the integration and development of various ethnic cultures, and also witnessed the local consciousness, self-confidence and self-improvement in promoting cultural development in the new era.